Serious docking AI buggery.

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Mazur
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Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by Mazur » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:53 am

Just now, well, some time ago, I was at the Kiota Relay Station in Ervein (G1), it had really cheap fur, so i decide to run it to then main station for good profit. There was a taxi passenger waiting to go to the Mall-Wart Con Store, too, so I decide to fly him over for a few extra bucks. I ran the trip all the way either on witchfuel or jump drive, but arrived with only 3 minutes to dock before the contract expiration, but the 25 KM area was completely empty, so I thought no problem, I can fly in manually in much less, only to hear from the station I was to keep in line as there was incoming traffic. No such traffic appeared, nor docked, and still I had no clearance, as the final seconds of the contract ticked away.

Fustrated, I discarded all thought of money, and put the ship on computer docking. That was 32 minutes ago, and I'm still not docked, and the 25 km are still empty. I've not watched the whole time, but it takes no other evidence to see that there is something seriously wrong in the docking code. Is this scripted code, that I can look at (and if so, where?), or part of the compiled binary?
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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by Mazur » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:06 am

Now I've calmed down a bit, and cleared my spleen and head, I realise this could be a side effect of Station Dock Control, if ships that are the first to depart from a station in time are put in the departure queue long before the actual departure, thus tying up docking until they want to leave.

Is such a side effect possible?
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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by phkb » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:58 am

I don't think the Station Dock Control is the cause of this. SDC will put ships into the launch queue of a station, but after that it's all core code. The original populator does the same thing, just randomly - the SDC does it from a list. As for the docking process, SDC doesn't handle that at all. It will record what ships dock, but it doesn't cause ships to dock, or interfere with the docking process at all.

Maybe someone who know the core routines better than I can determine what happens if a ship requests docking clearance and then moves away. Is there any possibility the station (particularly OXP stations) could get stuck in a loop of waiting for a non-existent ship to dock? I've also seen the same thing happen at Con-stores but didn't think a lot of it at the time. I didn't need to dock, so I just headed for the main station.

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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by cim » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:53 am

It's possible that an NPC ship could grab docking clearance and then fly off in the other direction. I've no idea what might cause that to happen, though.

I'll add a failsafe for it in the next version.

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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by Mazur » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:03 pm

cim wrote:It's possible that an NPC ship could grab docking clearance and then fly off in the other direction. I've no idea what might cause that to happen, though.

I'll add a failsafe for it in the next version.
Please do. To round the report off: after some 50 minutes the store barfed out two sets of ships and I was finally allowed to drop off my seriously pissed off passenger.
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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by cim » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:55 pm

Tonight's build should kick ships out of the docking queue if they get out of scanner range of the dock.

There was also a bug in the old plist-based docking AI which would send ships, including the player on docking computer, off to the witchpoint as their "holding position". Ships with newer AIs were not affected. So that may have been where the ship taking up the docking queue went (presumably when it finally reached the witchpoint, it released the queue spot). Also fixed tonight, I hope.

Thanks for the bug report.

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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by Mazur » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:11 pm

cim wrote: Thanks for the bug report.
Bug report? What bug report? I was just blowing off steam at inferior programming code and barely refraining myself from ranting at the good people that made all this fun even remotely possible!

;-) Just kidding.
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Re: Serious docking AI buggery.

Post by Mazur » Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:02 am

cim wrote:Tonight's build should kick ships out of the docking queue if they get out of scanner range of the dock.

There was also a bug in the old plist-based docking AI which would send ships, including the player on docking computer, off to the witchpoint as their "holding position". Ships with newer AIs were not affected. So that may have been where the ship taking up the docking queue went (presumably when it finally reached the witchpoint, it released the queue spot). Also fixed tonight, I hope.

Thanks for the bug report.
You might also consider adding code to allow a ship a maximum of two extensions, or something, so that another bug i once or twice noticed
(ship in loop of approach but failing to dock) will be broken through.
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